John King Teahen Jr. passed away January 8, 2012. He was 87. Jack lived in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., for more than 50 years and was a parishioner at St. Hugo of the Hills Catholic Church. He was born August 20, 1925, in Detroit to John and Pearl Teahen. He attended Gesu grade school, the University of Detroit High School and the University of Detroit.
Jack thought that any young person who was lucky enough to go to U of D High School would "go in as a boy and come out as a man for others." He cherished his lifelong friendships from the High. He carried a 97% average through high school. He was a true U of D Titan from 1945 until death. He loved going to college basketball games and belonging to the Titan Club. He gave generously to children's charities, Olympic athletes and a scholarship fund at U of D for print journalism students.
Jack's byline first appeared in the U of D newspaper. He was a sports reporter. In 1951, he took a job at the Detroit Free Press as a copy boy. In 1955, he joined the place that became home to him — Automotive News. He was promoted to associate editor in 1960, became assistant managing editor in 1966 and managing editor in 1974. He was senior editor from 1985 until he "retired" 2009.
In retirement, he returned to the office twice a month to write his signature "Sales Tales" column as well as other pieces analyzing the auto industry's performance. He was a key contributor to the paper, mentor to scores of journalists and a fixture in the newsroom for 57 years.
He loved everyone at Automotive News. He often said he didn't know what he would do without the wonderful friends he had there. Automotive News colleagues have many glorious things to say about Jack and they really loved him. They should know he loved them, too. He said, "They are the smartest most wonderful people anyone could imagine working with."
One of the most profound events of his life happened after his leg was crushed in an automobile accident his senior year in high school. After a year and a half his leg would not heal and the doctors where considering amputation. His dad took him to Father Solanus Casey. Father Solanus prayed over his leg, making the sign of the cross over and over again at the fracture site. Jack said he felt a deep warmth in his leg. When he next saw the doctor, he was told his leg had healed. Jack was amazed and humbled that he was chosen to have a miraculous healing and wept every time he told the story.
Jack loved the Detroit Lions. He was a statistician for the team for more than 50 years and saw the first game the Lions played — in 1934.
Jack hated vegetables, SUVs and computers. When he was about 10, he told his mother he would not eat vegetables and he never did. He was a meat and potatoes guy. He loved filet and hamburgers; he also liked pasta. His grandnieces and grandnephews called him "Uncle Soup" because he would bring them soup for lunch when they were little. He thought SUVs were glorified station wagons. He didn't understand what all the fuss was about. He had a love-hate relationship with computers, mostly hate as his articles were sometimes accidentally sent into oblivion. He often wrote longhand on yellow legal pads. He could crunch numbers faster than any calculator. He loved numbers and was the industry expert for auto sales statistics and pricing. The auto companies paid close attention to what he thought would happen in the industry; he was usually right. In 2006, his career won widespread accolades from his peers. In that year he was inducted into the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame, received a Distinguished Service Citation from the Automotive Hall of Fame and accepted a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Detroit Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.
His memory was stellar. Coworkers would ask him which issue some story appeared in and he'd answer, "April 24, 1982, page 14, lower right side" and that would be exactly where it was. Jack was a keen observer, a kind and patient fellow with a quick dry wit. He was always a gentleman. He wisely seemed to know when to ask just the right question at just the right time or when to butt out.
Jack was the dear cousin of Mae and Jim Hamlin. He was beloved Uncle Jack to many people, especially Jamie, Honey, Joe, Mimi and Larry and many grand nieces and nephews. He was the cherished Godfather of Katie Gibbs-Scarchilli and Mary Anne DeForke and dearest best friend of Richard and Ann Gibbs.
Family will receive friends at A.J. Desmond & Sons (Vasu, Rodgers & Connell Chapel), 32515 Woodward (btwn 13-14 Mile), Sunday 2:00-8:00pm with Rosary 7:00pm.
Funeral Mass Monday 11:00am at St. Hugo of the Hills Stone Chapel, 2215 Opdyke Rd., Bloomfield Hills. Visitation at the chapel begins at 10:30am.
Memorial tributes to The Capuchins.
Read John 'Jack' Teahen, Jr.'s Obituary and Guestbook on desmondfuneralhome.com.